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You shouldn’t get so angry at Christians who insist that the Jews killed Jesus. Your outrage may be directed in the wrong direction. It’s more likely that your accuser blindly embraced the dark depiction of the Jews as we were cast by the authors of the New Testament. The odious charge of deicide is clearly leveled against the Jewish people in the Christian Scriptures. From the narratives in the Gospels and letters of Paul, there can be no doubt that the Jews alone are responsible for Jesus’ death. In his earliest letter, Paul writes,

“…even as they have of the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always; for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost!”

(I Thessalonians 2:14-16)

Moreover, not does the New Testament viciously condemn the Jews for the crime of deicide, but shockingly, the Romans are entirely exonerated in the Gospels. This selective vilification is not only directed toward those Jews who allegedly plotted and collaborated in Jesus’ crucifixion, but it places the responsibility for the death of Jesus on the Jewish people as a whole. Virtually all the Church Fathers regurgitate this devastating charge, casting the Jews as “Christ-killers.”

Accordingly, the Holy Friday liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Byzantine Catholics uses the expression “impious and transgressing people,”1 and the strongest expressions are in the Holy Thursday liturgy, which includes the same chant, after the eleventh Gospel reading, but also speaks of “the murderers of God, the lawless nation of the Jews,”2 and, referring to “the assembly of the Jews,” prays: “But give them, Lord, their reward, because they devised vain things against Thee.”3